A Good Month For Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad by Del Quentin Wilber was an impulse grab. The title made it feel like one of those books that could go either way. Sometimes these books take their frustrations out on the hard working detective. Sometimes they go the other direction. It is the rare book that walks the line. This one is rare.
Basic Synopsis (Courtesy of Goodreads):
Twelve homicides, three police-involved shootings and the furious hunt for an especially brutal killer—February 2013 was a good month for murder in suburban Washington, D.C.
After gaining unparalleled access to the homicide unit in Prince George’s County, which borders the nation’s capital, Del Quentin Wilber begins shadowing the talented, often quirky detectives who get the call when a body falls. After a quiet couple of months, all hell breaks loose: suddenly every detective in the squad is scrambling to solve one shooting and stabbing after another. Meanwhile, the entire unit is obsessed with a stone-cold “red ball,” a high-profile case involving a seventeen-year-old honor student attacked by a gunman who kicked down the door to her house and shot her in her bed.
Murder is the police investigator’s ultimate crucible: to solve a killing, a detective must speak for the dead. More than any recent book, A Good Month for Murder shows what it takes to succeed when the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher.
I loved this book. Wilber wrote it in that perfect balanced way where you feel the stress rolling off the cop and you can smell the fear on the suspect. He balanced gritty reality with a touch of humanity.
Like any good nonfiction book, the cases aren’t nicely wrapped up in a bow. They don’t solve a lot of the cases you spend the book reading about. Welcome to the real world of police work. It’s a long slog of thankless work and sleepless nights. It was very nice to ride a long for 300 pages.